No Distance Left to Run?

With TFC's season over, it's time for fans to declare or renounce their faith in the team
by Sonja Missio   |   Monday, November 12, 2012

Red Dawn Rising - column on Toronto FC (TFC) & the Toronto Ontario soccer scene

I have been home for a week now and all is quiet on the Toronto FC front. In fact, it has been a little too quiet, if you ask me.

During my first week back, I went out to dinner with a journalist friend to ask him what I had missed while I was away. He gave me the low down – on things I knew and had missed – covering topics from the team, the fans and the media. He, as always, remained diplomatic on all subject matters, but as he filled me in, I began to realize something: nothing in Toronto changes.


Terms and phrases like “rebuild,” “restructure,” “changes for 2013,” “do differently,” “we should bring back Chad Barrett,” were thrown around in our discussion about what TFC needs to do.

This resulted in me quickly going through three gin martinis (straight up, with a twist), as I subconsciously created a “TFC-Next-Season-Will-Be-Different-Because…” drinking game.

Anyway, here’s the truth: We won’t be any better off next season. No savior will come to make us MLS Champions (we’ve tried that before, remember? His name was Aron Winter) and no amount of protest will make Toronto FC be good. There is no easy fix; being a successful team takes time, planning and, above all, patience.

This might be a difficult – and downright radical – concept to grasp, but hear me out: You can’t expect a team to win just because you want them to.

As I explained this to my journalist friend, it dawned on me that I have become more obsessed with Toronto FC fans than with Toronto FC. I can take a team that cannot win – as I am used to supporting Udinese – but what I cannot take is this self righteous idea that the fan deserves better. 

The conversation then drifted to how sick I was of everything related to Toronto FC. Everything with the team is frustrating, repetitive and uninspiring (much like my writing lately). Once again, as I frequently do, I threatened to leave the team, and the sport, while my dinner companion soothed me with another drink.

Now, days later, I am trying to look at how I feel about Toronto FC and its fans with a different approach. 

Fans: you’re angry, you’re frustrated, you’re discouraged – all things you’re allowed to be, nay, you should be. But stop and think for a minute before you completely give up on the team.

I want to propose something to you, the disheartened Toronto FC fan. I will give my blessing for you to leave TFC, to give up on the team, to stop being a fan if Blur’s song “No Distance Left to Run” completely justifies your feelings about Toronto.

I have previously written on 90 Minutes of Hopp about using Blur songs as an anthem for TFC and I would like to revisit that idea. However, instead of an anthem of hope, as I explain with the song "Tender," I want to use “No Distance Left to Run” as a swan song; as your final lament for a team you can no longer be with.

Yes, that means this would be your break up with the team. This is the moment where you must decide if you really want to return the team’s sweater and that toaster it got you last Christmas, and move on.

This is also the moment when you realize that you can’t come back.

If things start going well for Toronto, if they start winning games, cups and titles, you can’t come back to try again; there’s no rekindling the flame or second chances. You can be happy with their success, but you have no right to claim it for your own.

Much like Toronto FC will, you must move on.

If you’re willing to agree to the above, then go for it. Like I said, you have my blessing and good luck.

If you’re not willing, if the thought of never coming home to TFC again is too much, then suck it up; keep being a fan. If you don’t want to support the team financially, then don’t. But don’t give up on your team in other ways. Wear their colours with pride and stand up for them when their name gets dropped in a discussion. Eventually, your self-deprecation of justifying being a fan will grow from embarrassment to unfathomable love.

Because once they start winning, I promise you, all the pain, torture, and relentless teasing from friends who like “real teams” will be worth it.

I’ll be honest myself: I have no distance left to run, but only when it comes to Toronto FC fans. So this will be my last article devoted to my love-hate-unhealthy obsession with trying to understand, and negotiate, with fans.

Last week I wrote, “it has taken a trip overseas to make me realize what I feel for Toronto FC and to help me sort out my confusion and anger with the club, the fans, and the management. However, after learning about other others clubs and experiencing the game from a new angle, I think I finally understand my position and my outlook on next season” and I have. I love my team; it’s actually as simple as that. I no longer need to justify anything surrounding it, nor argue anything against.

All that’s left to do is move forward objectively, and unemotionally.


Univ. of Guelph, Univ. of W. Ontario, Brock University
Club Domestic:
Toronto FC
Club Foreign:
Supported Udinese since birth, TFC was her own stupid decision; writing on her masochistic relationship with soccer started after. Doomed as a Canadian - Friulano - Swiss - Filipina. Searching for Juventini actually from Turin and running for FIFA Prez.